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Want to encourage the creative urge in your kids? Embrace your own.

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When I was about three years old and my sister five, our dad, a bank manager who commuted to his London office each day, decided to re-decorate our suburban, three bedroomed semi-detached house in Essex.
In the process of this fairly mundane and entirely unremarkable task, he decided, almost inexplicably, to create a colourful painted mural up the stairs.

At the time, I thought this creation was wonderful, and something that everyone’s dad did. It perhaps took me until I had my own children to realise that it really wasn’t.
I’ve been decorating the upstairs bathroom myself this past week and although I have created murals in my children’s bedrooms at various points, I’m just not brave enough to do it elsewhere in the house. But I wholeheartedly wish I was.

Nothing appeals to children more than the feeling that their world of imagination and fun can spill over into the serious, sterile universe of the grown-ups. I can still remember that picture snaking up the twisting staircase, with perfect clarity. There were green hills, blue skies and white fluffy clouds. I’ve no idea if it was any good in an artistic sense (sorry Dad) but to my younger self this really didn’t matter. It was magical.

My sister is now a rather wonderful artist herself and I write novels. We have both embraced the idea that it’s perfectly acceptable to explore your imagination and follow it to wherever it wants to go.

Does this tendency have anything to do with that mural my father painted for us over 35 years ago? Well, I can’t prove it, but I definitely think it might have. In which case, maybe I should really consider making a similar gesture to my own children.
Because how can we expect our offspring to show their creative side if we are never prepared to reveal ours?

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. laura #

    I think that’s a wonderful idea!!!! And knowing S&J I think they would create an extraordinary, imaginative piece of work that would also bring a lot fun to the room/area! When I was growing up there were two garages opposite our house. One of the garages was owned by a house on the opposite side of the road and they had two sons, both of which were great artists. Every year they would paint a different picture/scene on the garage door. I remember being soo excited as a child waiting to see what they would paint next! Creativity is one of the keys to life!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    August 17, 2015
    • Isn’t it amazing how we remember these things too? It stays with you forever. I’ll have to think of a place where the kids can create something, before they’re too old for it!

      Like

      August 17, 2015

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